Monday, August 3, 2009

CHOMSKY FOUND TO BE WRONG!

Meet our hero iAN WILLIAMS - a media whore for CNN FOX etc. Did he do the impossible, he found that CHOMSKY is wrong about NATO BOMBING of KOSOVO?

NATO knew that the bombing for the Kosovo AMBO PIPELINE and US military base Camp Bondsteel would CAUSE serb atrocities! Years earlier US and NATO did not bomb to stop the killing in Bosnia.. NO OIL PIPELINE IN BOSNIA.


CHOMSKY FOUND TO BE WRONG!

Chomsky not a moral man!!

Ian Williams says that never-wrong & encyclopedic-correct Noam Chomsky ...

"... claims the Nato air raids on Serbia actually precipitated the worst atrocities."

(i.e. only AFTER the NATO aggressive bombing and high-altitude killing of innocent civilans did Serbis attack Kosovo)

Ian Williams goes on to say that Chomsky's ...

" ... claim is not only untrue, but also morally unpalatable ... "

WHAT ARE THE FACTS??

NATO BOMBING from March 24 to June 10, 1999

USA STATE DEPARTMENT propaganda:

March 19: Kosovo Verification Mission withdraws. OK

March 20: The Yugoslav armed units launch an offensive, driving thousands of ethnic Albanians out of their homes and villages, summarily executing some, displacing many others, and setting fire to many houses. WHERE? WHEN? HOW MANY? THIS LINE IS IN DISPUTE!!

check >> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EEhgwdJldeU

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VYw8J3mpbzo <<>

Chomsky describing a classic tactic to provoke war.

What was the genocide in Kosovo? We know from the Western documentation what it was. In the year prior to the bombing, according to Western sources about two thousand people were killed, the killings were distributed, a lot of them were coming in fact according to British government, which was the most hawkish element of the Alliance, up until January 1999 a majority of killings came from the KLA guerillas who were coming in as they said, you know, to try to incite a harsh Serbian response, which they got, in order to appeal to Western humanitarians to bomb. We know from the Western records that nothing changed between January and March, in fact up until March 20 they indicate nothing. March 20th they indicate an increase in KLA attacks. But, it was ugly but by international standards it was almost invisible unfortunately and it was very distributed. If the British are correct, the majority was coming from the KLA guerillas.
DM: And as it later turned out the KLA was also receiving financial and military support.
NC: They were being supported by CIA in those months. And to call that genocide, is really to insult the victims of the holocaust, you know, if that's genocide than the whole world is covered with genocide.
In fact it's kind of striking; right at the same time the Western intellectuals were praising themselves for their magnificent humanitarianism, much worse atrocities were going on right across the border, in Turkey. That's inside NATO, not at the borders of NATO… "how can we allow this on the borders of NATO,"… but how about inside NATO where Turkey was carrying, had driven probably several million Kurds out of their homes, destroyed about 3500 villages laid waste the whole place, every conceivable form of torture and massacre you can imagine, killed nobody knows how many people, we don't count our victims, tens of thousands of people, how they were able to do that? The reason is because they were getting 80% of their arms from Clinton and as the atrocities increased, the arms flow increased. In fact in one single year, 1997, Clinton sent more arms to Turkey than the entire Cold War period combined! Up until the counter-insurgency.
That was not reported in the West. You do not report your own crimes, that's critical. And right in the midst of all of this, "how can we tolerate a couple of thousand people being killed in Kosovo, mixed guerillas and ..." In fact the 50th Anniversary of NATO took place right in the middle of all of this.

READ THE FULL INTERVIEW AT THE END OF THE BLOG (below!)

http://u2r2h.blogspot.com/2008/02/kosovo-protects-us-pipeline.html

March 21: One last diplomatic effort is made by the international community, which sends Ambassador Holbrooke to Belgrade to deliver a "final warning" to Milosevic.

March 22: The NAC North Atlantic Council (USA+UK) authorises puppet Secretary-General Solana to decide, upon further consultations, on a broad range of air operations, if necessary.

March 23: Ambassador Holbrooke departs Belgrade in the evening, having received no concessions of any kind from Milosevic.

March 24: NATO airstrikes began. Tens of thousands of Kosovars have already fled the heavy fighting throughout Kosovo.

www.state.gov/www/regions/eur/fs_kosovo_timeline.html




NATO had carried out war crimes during the conflict, notably the bombing of the Serbian TV headquarters in Belgrade on April 23 1999, where 16 people were killed and 16 were injured. Sian Jones of Amnesty stated "The bombing of the headquarters of Serbian state radio and television was a deliberate attack on a civilian object and as such constitutes a war crime"

OH!! British American propagandist Williams DID NOT MENTION this.

Civilian casualties as a result of Operation Allied Force were significant. Many of the people killed in the NATO airstrikes were widely reported to be civilians, both Serbs and Albanians. Human Rights Watch confirmed ninety incidents in which civilians died as a result of NATO bombing. It reported that as few as 489 and as many as 528 Yugoslav civilians were killed in the ninety separate incidents in Operation Allied Force

http://www.prisonplanet.com/images/march2006/150306clinton3.jpg

On 14 April 1999, during daylight hours, NATO aircraft repeatedly bombed refugee movements over a twelve-mile (19 km) stretch of road between Đakovica and Dečani in western Kosovo, killing seventy-three civilians ... Human Rights Watch could document. The attack began at 1:30 p.m. and persisted for about two hours, causing civilian deaths in numerous locations on the convoy route near the villages of Bistrazin, Gradis, Madanaj, and Meja.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Targeting_of_civilian_areas_during_Operation_Allied_Force

WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION used by USA and UK:

There were seven confirmed and five likely incidents involving civilian deaths from cluster bomb use by the United States and Britain. Altogether, some ninety to 150 civilians died from cluster bomb use.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/olmedia/870000/images/_871593_cluster_bomb_300.gifhttp://www.unitariansocieties.org.uk/peace/pcphotos/cluster.gif

Cluster bombs

http://yalibnan.com/site/archives/2007/06/08/cluster%20bomb%20victim.jpg

Cluster bomb victim.

====================


Full article by this embedded right-wing writer for the establishment:


Ian Williams: Intervention and indifference

Two centuries ago, at the height of a war for its survival against Napoleon, the Royal Navy diverted ships to West Africa for the anti-slavery patrol. Those who wanted the trade to continue -- which was pretty much every other nation except Haiti -- attacked British motives as sordid, commercial and imperialist. In fact, it was the result of a huge upswelling of public opinion, strong and evangelical enough to overcome some of the most powerful commercial interests in the country.

Similar cynical accusations were bruited last week at the United Nations when the UN General Assembly debated Ban Ki-moon.s report on the "Responsibility to Protect" (R2P), which was Kofi Annan.s greatest achievement as UN Secretary General. He had steered 150 heads of states, and their representatives present, to accept unanimously the concept at the 2005 World Summit.

Rather than the impossible task of rewriting the UN Charter, Annan persuaded the assembled leaders to reinterpret it and declare that the threats to international peace and security which come under the organization.s remit include crimes against humanity, even when committed internally by a sovereign state.

Annan.s successor, Ban Ki-moon, is a staunch supporter of the concept and his report framed the discussion in a way that precluded overturning the principle. However, opponents at the General Assembly and their ideological allies outside were determined to undermine R2P and weaken its implementation as much as possible. In this, they were helped by the President of the General Assembly, the Nicaraguan Sandinista foreign minister Miguel D.Escoto, who questioned the document.s undermining of the state sovereignty on which he claimed the whole UN system was based.

Much less subtly, the Chinese delegate stood the whole concept of R2P on its head by declaring that there must be no "wavering of the principles of respecting state sovereignty and non-interference of internal affairs". In contrast, Ban.s report referred with more nuance to the "abiding principles of responsible sovereignty."

Humanitarian intervention -- invoked by Hitler in the Sudetenland and Japan in Manchuria -- is indeed a slippery and abusable concept. Tony Blair.s attempt to justify the invasion of Iraq as humanitarian intervention, and Moscow.s attempt to invoke in Georgia the principle it denied in Kosovo show the dangers.

Noam Chomsky, invited to speak by D.Escoto, raised the question of why there was no intervention in East Timor or why the UN stood by as Israel attacked Lebanon and Gaza, but claims the Nato air raids on Serbia actually precipitated the worst atrocities. This latter claim is not only untrue, but also morally unpalatable in its spurious causality. It is like claiming the RAF raids on Germany precipitated the gas chambers.

It also begs the question: does he want international action to stop atrocities in Gaza, the Congo or situations like Timor? Or is he only opposed to "Western" interventions? Would he have opposed the slave patrol that rescued hundreds of thousands from bondage on the grounds that imperialist Britain was hypocritical?

It probably did not impress him that Britain was again on the side of the angels, as Mark Malloch Brown spoke firmly in favour of the concept -- and forbore to mention that, as UN Deputy Secretary General and unlike most of the current British Cabinet, he had publicly cast doubts on the Iraq war.

The astute delegate from Ghana took Chomsky to task for failing to address the principle of "non-interference" -- the practice of countries. standing by in the face of horrors across a sovereign border. The African Union.s charter specifically adopted "non-indifference." It includes the obligation to intervene.

As enunciated by the UN, the R2P principle puts the onus of decision-making on the Security Council, which leads to further accusations of double standards, since the permanent five sit in judgment on others armed with vetoes to protect themselves. However, the problem with the Security Council has rarely been vigorous interventionism but active indifference.

Even so, there is plenty of finger pointing to do. China protects Sudan, North Korea and Zimbabwe, in the latter case following in British footsteps, since Britain once vetoed resolutions on Rhodesia. France covers for Morocco in Western Sahara, while the United States has until now automatically covered for Israel and Russia for Serbia. Equally Britain and the US were confident that their vetoes would stop their invasion of Iraq being on the Security Council agenda, just as Beijing ensures that Taiwan is excluded from the UN and Tibet and the Uighurs from its agenda.

This expediency has given opponents of the R2P plenty of ammunition, even if their high-minded declarations about the sacredness of sovereignty barely camouflage the ugly self-interest underneath. In effect, apologists for authoritarian sovereignty imply that they would happily let all murders go unchecked because some states get away with it.

Maybe it is time for Britain, perhaps with France, to set an example, and either renounce or set strict limits on any future use of the veto. It could also resume voting for Middle Eastern resolutions instead of abstaining to cover for US vetoes. It may be just what Barack Obama wants to help him with his new Middle East policy. After all, the old one, more than anything else, has made a mockery of Western pretensions to global values.

=========

Is this what a "stupid white man" looks like?

http://www.ianwilliams.info/images/ianheadshot.jpg

Name: Ian Williams
Location: New York, United States

Born in Liverpool, now resident in New York, "Alms Trade" and "Rum" author Ian has written for newspapers and magazines around the world, ranging from the Australian to The Independent, from the New York Observer and the Village Voice to the Financial Times. He is the UN correspondent for Tribune, and senior analyst for Foreign Policy in Focus. He has pundited on BBC, CNN, MSNBC, FOX, CBC and innumerable radio stations, for example appearing on Hard Ball,the O'Reilly Factor, and Wolf Blitzer. Online he writes for Salon, AlterNet and MaximsNews, among many others.


Don't believe MEDIA PUNDIT WHORES, listen to the original source and reclaim your own mind: The internet makes it easy, here you go:

Chomsky at UN (10 minute video)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rru2oCBadRI

Background info:

PIPELINE - US halliburton MILITARY BASE "camp bondsteel"

http://u2r2h.blogspot.com/2008/02/kosovo-protects-us-pipeline.html

http://www.btinternet.com/~nlpwessex/images/balkansoil.gif


Here is a non-embedded Journalist:

PEPE ESCOBAR, TRNN ANALYST: There's a myth being spun all over the US and around the wealthy parts of the European Union.France, Britain, and Germany.that the independence of Kosovo is a great accomplishment, is a victory for democracy, and a successful accomplishment of US foreign policy
the whole soap opera involving the unilateral and illegal independence of Kosovo, immediately applauded by the US and by the three European Union giants, is directly related to two key things: oil and the expansion or the worldwide empire of US military bases. This means in detail the AMBO oil pipeline and Camp Bondsteel. They are totally interrelated.
The AMBO pipeline (Albania, Macedonia, Bulgarian Oil), which is an entity registered in the US, a pipeline that is worth $1.1 billion

http://hidhist.files.wordpress.com/2008/07/camp_bondsteel_kosovo1.jpg

Camp Bondsteel is also directly related to AMBO pipeline, because Camp Bondsteel was built by KBR, which is an Halliburton company as well. UNTIL 1999 It's the biggest US military base built since the Vietnam War.


KBR’s strategic masterpiece is Camp Bondsteel – the largest and most expensive US Army base since Vietnam (1999) , still in use today, complete with roads, its own power generators, houses, satellite dishes, a helicopter airfield and of course a Vietnam-style prison. By a fabulous coincidence, Camp Bondsteel is right on the path of the Albanian-Macedonian-Bulgarian Oil (AMBO) Trans-Balkan Pipeline. This key piece of Pipelineistan is supposed to connect the oil-and-gas-rich Caspian Sea with Europe. The feasibility project for AMBO was conducted by none other than KBR.

On February 17, Kosovo broke away from Serbia and declared its independence. Not surprisingly it was instantly recognized as a state by the U.S., Germany, Britain and France. With 4203 square miles area, Kosovo may be a tiny territory but in the great game of oil politics it holds great importance which is in inverse proportion to its size.

Kosovo does not have oil but its location is strategic as the trans-Balkan pipeline - known as AMBO pipeline after its builder and operator the US-registered Albanian Macedonian Bulgarian Oil Corporation - will pass through it.

The pipeline will pump Caspian oil from the Bulgarian port of Burgas via Macedonia to the Albanian port of Vlora, for transport to European countries and the United States. Specifically, the 1.1 billion dollar AMBO pipeline will permit oil companies operating in the Caspian Sea to ship their oil to Rotterdam and the East Coast of the USA at substantially less cost than they are experiencing today.

http://artoftheprank.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2008/05/unknown-71.jpg

When operational by 2011, the pipeline will become a part of the region's critical East-West corridor infrastructure which includes highway, railway, gas and fiber optic telecommunications lines. This pipeline will bring oil directly to the European market by eliminating tanker traffic through the ecologically sensitive waters of the Aegean and Mediterranean Seas.

In 2000, the United States Government.s Trade and Development Agency financed a feasibility study of pipeline which updated and enlarged the project's original feasibility study dating from early 1996. Brown & Root Energy Services, a wholly-owned British subsidiary of Halliburton completed the original feasibility study for this project.

The US Trade and Development Agency's paper published May 2000, which assesses that the pipeline is a US strategic interest. According to the paper, the pipeline will provide oil and gas to the US market worth $600m a month, adding that the pipeline is necessary because the oil coming from the Caspian sea will quickly surpass the safe capacity of the Bosphorus.

The project is necessary, according to a paper, because the oil coming from the Caspian sea "will quickly surpass the safe capacity of the Bosphorus as a shipping lane". The scheme, the agency notes, will "provide a consistent source of crude oil to American refineries", "provide American companies with a key role in developing the vital east-west corridor", "advance the privatisation aspirations of the US government in the region" and "facilitate rapid integration" of the Balkans "with western Europe".

The pipeline itself, the agency says, has also been formally supported "since 1994". The first feasibility study, backed by the US, was conducted in 1996.

In November 1998, Bill Richardson, the then US energy secretary, spelt out his policy on the extraction and transport of Caspian oil. "This is about America's energy security," he explained. "It's also about preventing strategic inroads by those who don't share our values. We're trying to move these newly independent countries toward the west.

"We would like to see them reliant on western commercial and political interests rather than going another way. We've made a substantial political investment in the Caspian, and it's very important to us that both the pipeline map and the politics come out right."

Professor Michel Chossudovsky, author of America at War in Macedonia, provides a deep insight into the Albanian-Macedonian-Bulgarian-Oil Pipeline project:

"The US based AMBO pipeline consortium is directly linked to the seat of political and military power in the United States and Vice President Dick Cheney's firm Halliburton Energy. The feasibility study for AMBO's Trans-Balkan Oil Pipeline, conducted by the international engineering company of Brown & Root Ltd. [Halliburton's British subsidiary] has determined that this pipeline will become a part of the region's critical East-West corridor infrastructure which includes highway, railway, gas and fibre optic telecommunications lines.

"Coincidentally, White and Case LLT, the New York law firm that President William J. Clinton joined when he left the White House also has a stake in the AMBO pipeline deal.

"And upon completion of the feasibility study by Halliburton, a senior executive of Halliburton was appointed CEO of AMBO. Halliburton was also granted a contract to service US troops in the Balkans and build "Bondsteel" in Kosovo, which now constitutes "the largest American foreign military base constructed since Vietnam".

"The AMBO Trans-Balkans pipeline project would link up with the pipeline corridors between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea basin, which lies at the hub of the World's largest unexplored oil reserves. The militarization of these various corridors is an integral part of Washington's design.

"The US policy of "protecting the pipeline routes" out of the Caspian Sea basin (and across the Balkans) was spelled out by Clinton's Energy Secretary Bill Richardson barely a few months prior to the 1999 bombing of Yugoslavia: This is about America's energy security. It's also about preventing strategic inroads by those who don't share our values. We're trying to move these newly independent countries toward the west. We would like to see them reliant on western commercial and political interests rather than going another way. We've made a substantial political investment in the Caspian, and it's very important to us that both the pipeline map and the politics come out right.

"In favour of the AMBO pipeline negotiations, the U.S. Government has been directly supportive through its Trade and Development Agency (TDA) and the South Balkan Development Initiative (SBDI). The TDI suggested the need for Albania, Macedonia, and Bulgaria to "use regional synergies to leverage new public and private capital [from U.S. companies]" while also asserting responsibility of the U.S. Government "for implementing the initiative."

And the U.S. Government has fulfilled its role in promoting the AMBO project, granting several contracts to Halliburton for servicing U.S. troops in the Balkans, including a five year contract authorized in June of 2005 by the U.S. Army at a value of $1.25 billion, despite criminal allegations made against Halliburton that are currently being probed by the F.B.I., according to Craig A. Brannagan author of On the Political Executive: Public or Private?

This leaves little doubt that the war in the former Yugoslavia was fought solely in order to secure access to oil from new and biddable states in central Asia. It is obvious that the former Yugoslavia, especially Serbia, was a serious problem for the realization of the plan. The intervention in Kosovo and Metohija was carried out in order to please Albania, whose port of Vlore is the ultimate destination of the pipeline.

In 1998, fighting breaks out between Serbian forces and ethnic Albanians in Kosovo. President Milosevic sends in troops, and atrocities were committed. This opens the door for NATO.s Operation Allied Force, occupying Kosovo in 1999 and then handing it over to the UN, with a huge American presence in the area. UN resolution 1244 is drafted stipulating that Kosovo is Serbian land, and at the same time gives Kosovars governance autonomy.

June 1999, in the immediate aftermath of the bombing of Yugoslavia, US forces seized 1,000 acres of farmland in southeast Kosovo at Uresevic, near the Macedonian border, and began the construction of Camp Bondsteel which is the biggest construction project of a US military base since the war in Vietnam. Now, why would the United States build such a massive camp in Kosovo?

In evaluating Kosovo.s independence, it is also important to know that Kosovo is not gaining independence or even minimal self-government.

It will be run by an appointed High Representative and bodies appointed by the U.S., European Union and NATO. An old-style colonial viceroy and imperialist administrators will have control over foreign and domestic policy. It is similar to the absolute power held by L. Paul Bremer in the first two years of the U.S. occupation of Iraq. U.S. has merely consolidated its direct control of a totally dependent colony in the heart of the Balkans.

An International Civilian Representative (ICR) will be appointed by U.S. and E.U. officials to oversee Kosovo. This appointed official can overrule any measures, annul any laws and remove anyone from office in Kosovo. The ICR will have full and final control over the departments of Customs, Taxation, Treasury and Banking.

The E.U. will establish a European Security and Defense Policy Mission (ESDP) and NATO will establish an International Military Presence. Both these appointed bodies will have control over foreign policy, security, police, judiciary, all courts and prisons.


======= FULL CHOMSKY INTERVIEW =======


On the NATO Bombing of Yugoslavia
Noam Chomsky interviewed by Danilo Mandic
RTS Online, April 25, 2006

NOAM CHOMSKY, world-renowned linguist, political analyst, philosopher and activist, has been called "arguably the most important intellectual alive" by the New York Times. Recently, in a British magazine poll, he has been voted by a landslide as the top public intellectual in the world today. According to the Arts and Humanities Citation Index, between 1980 and 1992 Chomsky was cited as a source more often than any other living scholar, and remains the eighth most cited scholar ever. A professor at MIT, he is the author of more than 80 books, including The New Military Humanism: Lessons From Kosovo. His most recent book is Failed States: The Abuse of Power and the Assault on Democracy.

Danilo Mandic: Professor Noam Chomsky, in your, if I am not mistaken, first TV media appearance for Serbian media, thank you very much for being with us.

Noam Chomsky: I am glad to be with you.

DM: Last month marked the seventh anniversary of the beginning of the bombing of Yugoslavia. Why did NATO wage that war or I should say why did the United States wage that war?

NC: Actually, we have for the first time a very authoratative comment on that from the highest level of Clinton administration, which is something that one could have surmised before, but now it is asserted. This is from Strobe Talbott who was in charge of the…he ran the Pentagon/State Department intelligence Joint Committee on the diplomacy during the whole affair including the bombing, so that's very top of Clinton administration; he just wrote the forward to a book by his Director of Communications, John Norris, and in the forward he says if you really want to understand what the thinking was of the top of Clinton administration this is the book you should read and take a look on John Norris's book and what he says is that the real purpose of the war had nothing to do with concern for Kosovar Albanians. It was because Serbia was not carrying out the required social and economic reforms, meaning it was the last corner of Europe which had not subordinated itself to the US-run neoliberal programs, so therefore it had to be eliminated. That's from the highest level.

Again, we could have guessed it, but I've never seen it said before. That it wasn't because of the Kosovo Albanians, that we know. And this is a point of religious fanaticism that the West can't talk about for interesting reasons having to do with Western culture, but there is just overwhelming documentation, impeccable documentation. Two big compilations of the State Department trying to justify the war, the OSCE records, NATO records, KIM Monitor records, long British Parliamentary inquiry which led into it. They all showed the same thing - and sort of what we knew, I mean it was an ugly place, there were atrocities there.

DM: Given this clear documentary record I want to ask you about the elite Intellectual opinion, what you call…

NC: In the United States.

DM: …in the United States and in the West in general, because reviewing it you would get the impression - you would be forgiven for imagining that every critic of the NATO intervention was one of two things: either a "Milosevic sympathizer" or someone who doesn't care about genocide. What does this mean?

NC: First of all that's a common feature of intellectual culture. One good U.S. critic, Harold Rosenberg once described intellectuals as the "herd of independent minds." They think they are very independent but they are a stampede in a herd, which is true; when there is a party line, you have to adhere to it and the party line is systematic. The party line is subordination to state power and to state violence. Now you are allowed to criticize it but on a very narrow grounds. You can criticize it because it is not working or for some mistake or benign intentions that went astray or something, like you see right now in Iraq war, the tone of debate about Iraq war but take a look at it - it's very similar to the debate in PRAVDA during the invasion of Afghanistan. Actually I brought this up to a Polish reporter recently and I asked him if he had been reading PRAVDA. He just laughed and said yeah it's the same. Now you read PRAVDA in the nineteen eighties, it's you know: "the travail of the Russian soldiers that are going to get killed and now there are these terrorists who prevent us from bringing justice and peace to the Afghans, we of course did not invade them, we intervened and helped them at the request of the legitimate government, the terrorists are preventing us from doing all good the things we wanted to do etc." I have read Japanese counter-insurgency documents from the second WW, from the ninety thirties - the same, you know: "...we tried to bring them an earthly paradise, but the Chinese bandits are preventing it ..." in fact I don't know of any exception in history. If you want, British imperialism is the same, I mean even people of the highest moral integrity like John Stewart Mill were talking about, well we have to intervene in India and conquer India because the barbarians can't control themselves, there are atrocities, we are to bring them the benefits of the British rule and civilization and so on.

Now in the United States it's the same. Now take bombing of Kosovo; that was an incredibly important event for American intellectuals and the reason it had to do it all was for what was going on during nineties. And the nineties are for the West, not just the U.S. and France and England were the worst - probably the low point in intellectual history for the West, I think. I mean it was like a comic strip mimicking a satire of Stalinism, literally. You take a look at the New York Times or read the French press, the British press, there was all full of talk about how there is a "normative revolution" that has swept through the West, for the first time in history, a state namely the United States, "the leader of the free world" is acting from "pure altruism", ...Clinton's policy has entered into a "noble phase," with a "saintly glow" on and on, I am quoting from the liberals.

DM: Now, this particular humanitarian sharade was...

NC: That's pre Kosovo.

DM: Right. And it was specific in a sense because it was based on the claim that it was preventing genocide.

NC: Now this is, see there are no examples yet.

DM: Let me just read something that you said in an interview around the time of the bombing. You said that "the term "genocide" as applied to Kosovo is an insult to the victims of Hitler. In fact, it's revisionist to an extreme." What did you mean by that?

NC: First of all let me just fix the timing. The things I've been quoting are from the late nineties.

DM: Before Kosovo.

NC: Yeah. Now, they needed some event to justify this massive self-adulation, OK? Along came Kosovo fortunately and so now they had to stop genocide. What was the genocide in Kosovo? We know from the Western documentation what it was. In the year prior to the bombing, according to Western sources about two thousand people were killed, the killings were distributed, a lot of them were coming in fact according to British government, which was the most hawkish element of the Alliance, up until January 1999 a majority of killings came from the KLA guerillas who were coming in as they said, you know, to try to incite a harsh Serbian response, which they got, in order to appeal to Western humanitarians to bomb. We know from the Western records that nothing changed between January and March, in fact up until March 20 they indicate nothing. March 20th they indicate an increase in KLA attacks. But, it was ugly but by international standards it was almost invisible unfortunately and it was very distributed. If the British are correct, the majority was coming from the KLA guerillas.

DM: And as it later turned out the KLA was also receiving financial and military support.

NC: They were being supported by CIA in those months. And to call that genocide, is really to insult the victims of the holocaust, you know, if that's genocide than the whole world is covered with genocide.

In fact it's kind of striking; right at the same time the Western intellectuals were praising themselves for their magnificent humanitarianism, much worse atrocities were going on right across the border, in Turkey. That's inside NATO, not at the borders of NATO… "how can we allow this on the borders of NATO,"… but how about inside NATO where Turkey was carrying, had driven probably several million Kurds out of their homes, destroyed about 3500 villages laid waste the whole place, every conceivable form of torture and massacre you can imagine, killed nobody knows how many people, we don't count our victims, tens of thousands of people, how they were able to do that? The reason is because they were getting 80% of their arms from Clinton and as the atrocities increased, the arms flow increased. In fact in one single year, 1997, Clinton sent more arms to Turkey than the entire Cold War period combined! Up until the counter-insurgency.

That was not reported in the West. You do not report your own crimes, that's critical. And right in the midst of all of this, "how can we tolerate a couple of thousand people being killed in Kosovo, mixed guerillas and ..." In fact the 50th Anniversary of NATO took place right in the middle of all of this. And there were lamentations about what was going on right across NATO's border. Not a word about the much worse things going on inside NATO's borders, thanks to the massive flow of arms from the United States. Now that's only one case. Comparable things were going on all over where the U.S. were supportive of much worse, but this, you had to focus on this, that was the topic for "the herd of independent minds." It played a crucial role in their self image because they had been going through a period of praising themselves for their magnificence in their "normative revolution" and their "noble phase" and so on and so forth, so it was a god-sent, and therefore you couldn't ask any questions about it. Incidentally the same happened in the earlier phase of the Balkan wars. It was awful, and so on and so forth. However, but if you look at the coverage, for example there was one famous incident which has completely reshaped the Western opinion and that was the photograph of the thin man behind the barb-wire.

DM: A fraudulent photograph, as it turned out.

NC: You remember. The thin men behind the barb-wire so that was Auschwitz and 'we can't have Auschwitz again.' The intellectuals went crazy and the French were posturing on television and the usual antics. Well, you know, it was investigated and carefully investigated. In fact it was investigated by the leading Western specialist on the topic, Philip Knightly, who is a highly respected media analyst and his specialty is photo journalism, probably the most famous Western and most respected Western analyst in this. He did a detailed analysis of it. And he determined that it was probably the reporters who were behind the barb-wire, and the place was ugly, but it was a refugee camp, I mean, people could leave if they wanted and, near the thin man was a fat man and so on, well and there was one tiny newspaper in England, probably three people, called LM which ran a critique of this, and the British (who haven't a slightest concept of freedom of speech, that is a total fraud)…a major corporation, ITN, a big media corporation had publicized this, so the corporation sued the tiny newspaper for lible. Now the British lible laws were absolutely atrocious. The person accused has to prove that the, what he's reporting is not done in malice and he can't prove that. So and in fact when you have a huge corporation with batteries of lawyers and so on, carrying out a suit against the three people in the office, who probably don't have the pocket-money, it's obvious what is going to happen. Especially under these grotesque lible laws.

So yes, they were able to prove the little newspaper…and couldn't prove it wasn't done out of malice, they were put out of business. There was just euphoria in the left liberal British press. You've read The Guardian and The Observer, they thought it was wonderful.

DM: Mentioning The Guardian, what you describe is...

NC: Sorry, incidentally..., after they put the newspaper out of business under this utterly grotesque legal case of the British laws, the left liberal newspapers, like The Guardian were just in a state of euphoria about this wonderful achievement. They had managed to destroy a tiny newspaper because it questioned some image that they had presented and they were very proud of themselves for it, which was probably misunderstood or misinterpreted.

Well, Philip Knightly, he wrote a very harsh critique of the British media for behaving in this way, and tried to teach them an elementary lesson about freedom of speech. He also added that probably the photograph was misinterpreted. Couldn't get published. Well, you know, that's when Kosovo came along, it was the same thing. That you can not tell the truth about it, look I've gone through a ton of reporting on this, almost invariably they inverted the chronology. There were atrocities...

DM: But after the bombing.

NC: After the bombing. The way it's presented is: the atrocities took place and then we had to bomb to prevent genocide, just inverted.

DM: Let me ask you about the conduct of the actual war. You mentioned The Guardian, it's interesting because you yourself had recently had an unpleasant experience...

NC: Over this.

DM: ... when The Guardian misquoting you over Srebrenica. It misquoted you to make it appear as if you were questioning the Srebrenica massacre. But let me bring you back to the conduct of the actual war. That was another...

NC: ... the 1999 bombing.

DM: The bombing, which was also overlooked or selectively covered by the Western media in general. Now, Amnesty International, among others, reported that "NATO committed serious violations of the rules of war during it's campaign", numerous human rights groups concur and document various war crimes. One of them had its anniversary two days ago, when the Radio Television Serbia was bombed, the national television, its headquarters, killing 16 people. First of all, why were these crimes completely unreported, and secondly, is there any prospects for there being any responsibility taken for these crimes?

NC: I'd say the crimes were reported but they were cheered. It's not that they were unknown, like the bombing of the radio station, yes, it was reported and the TV station, but it's fine. Because the TV station was described as a propaganda outlet, so therefore it was right to bomb. That happens all the time. It just happened last year, in November 2004. One of the worst war crimes in Iraq...

DM: Al Jazeera ...

NC: ... was invasion of Falluja. Al Jazeera's one thing, but there was worse. The invasion of Falluja was kind of similar to Srebrenica, if you look, but ... They invaded Falluja; the first thing the invading troops did, U.S. troops, was to take over the general hospital and throw the patients on the floor, they were taken out their beds, put on the floor, hands tied on their backs, doctors thrown on the floor, hands on their backs, it was a picture of it in the front page of the The New York Times, they said it was wonderful.

DM: The Geneva Convention forbids hospitals to be...

NC: It's a grave breach of the Geneva Conventions and George Bush should be facing the death penalty for that, even under the U.S. law. But it was presented, no mention of the Geneva Conventions, and it was presented as a wonderful thing, because the Falluja general hospital was a "propaganda center," namely it was releasing casualty figures, so therefore it was correct to carry out a massive war crime.

Well, the bombing of the TV station was presented the same way. In fact, as I'm sure you recall, there was an offer from NATO that they would not bomb if they agreed to broadcast six hours of NATO propaganda. Well, this is considered quite right.

How can it be dealt with?

A group of international lawyers did appeal to the International Tribunal on the Yugoslavia. They presented a brief, saying they should look into NATO war crimes, but what they cited was reports from Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and admissions by the NATO command. That was what they presented, the…I am forgetting, but I think it was Karla Del Ponte at the time; she would not look at it, in violation of the laws of the Tribunal, because she "had faith in NATO." And that was the answer.

Well, something else interesting happened after that: Yugoslavia did bring the case to the War Court...

DM: Which also rejected the case.

NC: The Court accepted it and in fact deliberated for a couple of years it may still be, but what is interesting is that the U.S. excused itself from the case and the Court accepted the excuse. Why?

Because Yugoslavia had mentioned the Genocide Convention and the U.S. did sign the Genocide Convention (after forty years), it ratified it, but it ratified it with reservation, saying "inapplicable to the United States". So in other words, the United States is entitled to commit genocide, therefore and that was the case that the U.S. Justice Department of President Clinton's brought to the World Court and the Court had to agree. If a country does not accept World Court jurisdiction, it has to be excluded, so the U.S. was excluded from the trial, on the grounds that it grants itself the right to commit genocide. Do you think this was reported here?

DM: The World Court, though, excused itself from hearing the case trying the illegality of the war, on the grounds that Yugoslavia was not a full member of the United Nations at the time when the case was brought to the…

NC: Maybe they've finally reached that...

DM: ...they finally did that...

NC: ...for several years they were deliberating but that's the sequence, does any of this get reported? You can ask your friends at Princeton, ask the faculty. They don't know. I mean these… any more than… they will know that, they sort of probably remember the bombing, the capture of the General Hospital in Falluja but, was there any comment saying that was a war crime?

DM: What struck me was that you compared the Srebrenica massacre with the Falluja invasion, why is that?

NC: Because there are similarities.

DM: Like what?

NC: In the case of Srebrenica women and children were trucked out and then came, you know, the massacre. In the case of Falluja, the women and children were ordered out, they weren't trucked out, they were ordered out, but the men weren't allowed to leave and then came the attack. In fact, it turned out that the roads out were blocked.

Well, I mean all things, it's not the same story, but that part is similar. I actually mentioned that a couple of times. Storms of protest hysteria, you know. Incidentally this Guardian affair - part of it which was totally fraud is on the part of the editors, not the reporter. They blamed it on the reporter, but it was the editors.

One other thing that they were infuriated about was that she asked me what about the thin man behind the barb-wire, isn't that a horrible atrocity? I said well, you know, it's not certain that it was correct. OK, that led to the hysteria. That's when Philip Knightly tried to intervene to present once again his analysis and once again his critique of the media, but couldn't. He is a very prominent, prestigious person. You just cannot break ranks; that's not tolerated. I mean, we are lucky, we do not have censorship, it's free society, but the self-censorship is overwhelming. Actually, Orwell once wrote about this, in something that nobody has read. Everyone has read Animal Farm and almost nobody has read the introduction to Animal Farm...

DM: Unpublished.

NC: Unpublished, came out in his unpublished papers, thirty years later. In it what he said is, Animal Farm is a satire of this totalitarian state, he said free England is not very different. In free England unpopular ideas can be suppressed without the use of force and he gave examples. It's very similar here. And it does not matter how extreme they are, I mean the Iraq invasion is a perfect example.

There is not, you can not find anywhere in the main stream a suggestion that it is wrongful to invade another country. If you had invaded another country you have to pay reparations, you have to withdraw and the leadership has to be punished. I mean, and I don't know if you have read the Nuremburg Judgments, but after the Nuremburg Judgments, Justice Jackson, Chief of Council of Prosecution of the U.S. Justice, made very, very eloquent statements about how we must…we are sentencing these people to death of the crimes for which they committed or crimes when anybody commits them, including when we commit them, we have to live up to that. He said "we are handing the defendants a poison chalice, and if we sipped from this chalice we must be treated the same way." Can't be more explicit!

They also defined aggression. Aggression was defined in terms which just apply absolutely and without exception not only to the invasion of Iraq but to all sorts of other invasions, in Vietnam and many others, actually even terrorist war against Nicaragua, technically falls under the crime of aggression as defined in Nuremburg.

DM: Does the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia?

NC: Yes. And that's not even questioned. In fact there is a, there was a so-called, an Independent Commission of Inquiry on the Kosovo bombing led by a very respected South African jurist - Justice Goldstone - and they concluded that the bombing was, in their words, "illegal but legitimate". Illegal makes it a war crime. But they said it was legitimate because it was necessary to stop genocide. And then comes the usual inversion of the history.

Actually, Justice Goldstone who was a respectable person, later recognized that the atrocities came after the bombing. And that they were furthermore the anticipated consequence, he did recognize that in a lecture in New York, couple of years ago, he said: "well, nevertheless we can take some comfort in the fact that Serbia was planning it anyway, and the proof for they were planning it is" guess what - "Operation Horse-Shoe", - a probable intelligence fabrication that was publicized after the bombing, so even if it was true, it wouldn't matter. And furthermore, even if that was true, it was a contingency plan. Now look, Israel has a contingency plans to drive all the Palestinians out of the West Bank if there is a conflict, so does that mean that Iran has the right to bomb Israel? Now, the U.S. has contingency plans to invade Canada, OK so does that mean that everybody has a right to bomb the United States?

That's the last straw of justification on the part of a respectable person. But for the "herd of independent minds" it just does not matter. The bombing was because of their "high values", and their "nobility" and was to stop genocide. Say anything else, you know… tons of vilification and abuse comes. But it's not just on this issue, it's on every issue. So try to bring up the idea…take, say, the Vietnam War, a lot of time has passed, a huge amount of scholarship, tons of documentation, blew up the country...

DM: Let me just interrupt, I'm sorry, we won't have time to go into that...

NC: OK.

DM: I want to ask you about some of the present developments that are being used again to fabricate a lot of these issues. Slobodan Milosevic died last month. What is the significance of his death in your view?

NC: Milosevic was, he committed many crimes, not a nice person, terrible person, but the charges against him would have never have held up. He was originally indicted on the Kosovo charges. The indictment was issued right in the middle of bombing which already nullifies it. It used British, it admittedly used British and the U.S. intelligence right in the middle of bombing, can't possibly take it seriously. However if you look at the indictment, it was for crimes committed after the bombing. There was one exception: Racak. Let's even grant that the claims are true, let's put that aside. So, there was one exception, no evidence that he was involved or you know, it took place,

But almost the entire indictment was for after the bombing. How are those charges going to stand up unless you put Bill Clinton and Tony Blair on the dock alongside? Then they realized that it was a weak case. So they added the early Balkan wars, OK? Lot of horrible things happened there. But the worst crime, the one that they were really going to charge him for that genocide was Srebrenica.

Now, there is a little problem with that: namely there was an extensive, detailed inquiry into it by the Dutch Government, which was the responsible government, there were Dutch forces there, that's a big, you know, hundreds of pages inquiry, and their conclusion is that Milosevic did not know anything about that, and that when it was discovered in Belgrade, they were horrified. Well, suppose that had entered into the testimony?

DM: Does this mean that you are a "Milosevic sympathizer"?

NC: No, he was terrible. In fact he should have been thrown out, in fact he probably would have been thrown out and in the early nineties if the Albanians had voted, it was pretty close. He did all sorts of terrible things but it wasn't a totalitarian state, I mean, there were elections, there was the opposition, a lot of rotten things, but there are rotten things everywhere and I certainly wouldn't want to have dinner with him or talk to him, and yes, he deserves to be tried for crimes, but this trial was never going to hold up, if it was even semi-honest. It was a farce; in fact they were lucky that he died.

DM: In what sense?

NC: Because they did not have to go through out the whole trial. Now they can, you can build up an image about how he would have been convicted as another Hitler.

DM: Had he lived.

NC: But now they don't have to do it.

DM: I just want to bring you back to the bombing of the RTS. Some have argued that this particular act of NATO's in 1999 set precedants for targeting of media by the United States afterward - in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq - that it set a precedant for legitimizing media houses and labeling them as propaganda in order to bomb them in U.S. invasions. Do you make any connection there?

NC: Well, I mean, the chronology is correct. But I don't think they need excuses. The point is: you bomb anybody you want to. Let's take 1998, so it was before. Now in 1998, here's another thing you're not allowed to say in the States and the West that leads to hysteria, but I'll say it - in 1998 Clinton bombed the major pharmaceutical plant in the Sudan, OK? That was, this is the plant that's using the most of the pharmaceuticals and veterinary medicines for poor African country that's under embargo, can't replace it. What's that going to do? Obviously they killed unknown numbers of people, in fact the U.S. barred an investigation by the UN so we don't know and of course you don't want to investigate your own crimes, but there were some evidence. So the German Ambassador, who is a fellow at the Harvard University to Sudan wrote an article in Harvard International Review in which he estimated the casualties in the tens of thousands of deaths. The research of the Head of the Near East Foundation, a very respectable foundation, their regional director had field work in Somalia and in Sudan, he did the study, he came out with the same conclusions, probably tens of thousands of dead.

Right after the bombing, within weeks, Human Rights Watch issued a warning that it was going to be a humanitarian catastrophe and gave examples of aid workers being pulled out from areas where people were dying and so on. You can not mention this. Any mention of this brings the same hysteria, as criticizing the bombing of the TV station. So it's unmentionable, it is a Western crime and therefore it was legitimate.

Let's just suppose that Al Quaida blew up half the pharmaceutical supplies in the U.S., or England or Israel or any country in which people lived. Human beings, not ants, people. Fine. Can you imagine the reaction, we'd probably have a nuclear war, but when we do it to a poor African country - didn't happen! Not discussed, in fact the only issue that is discussed if there is discussion is whether the intelligence was correct when it claimed that it was also producing chemical weapons. That is the only question. Mention anything else, the usual hysteria, and tirades…This is a very disciplined, Western intellectual culture is extremely disciplined. And rigid. You can not go beyond fixed bounds. It's not, you know, it's not censored, it's all voluntary but it's true and it's not, incidentally, not free societies like this. In fact the third world countries are different.

So take, say, Turkey, half third world; I mean in Turkey, the intellectuals, the leading intellectuals, now best known writers, academics, journalists, artists I mean they not only protest atrocities about the Kurdish massacre, they protest it constantly, but they were also constant in carrying out civil disobedience against them. I also participated with them sometimes. And they go publish banned writings which reported presented them to the Prosecutor's Office, demand they were prosecuted. It's not a joke, you know, facing… sometimes they are sent to prison, that's no joke. There's nothing like that in the West. Inconceivable.

When I am in Western Europe I hear them telling me Turkey is not civilized enough to enter the European Union. I burst out laughing! It's the other way round.

DM: Speaking of democratic movements, there was a...

[crew]: This is the last question.

DM: OK, two more quick questions; one: you mentioned the democratic movements in various countries. There was of course a promising democratic movement in Serbia before and, of course, during the bombing. And people like Wesley Clark had claimed that this bombing would be of benefit to the anti-Milosevic forces, when it of course turned out to be a disaster. Was this a sincere evaluation on behalf of NATO?

NC: Well, I can't look into their minds. When you commit a crime it is extremely easy to find a justification for it. That's true of personal life; it's true of international affairs. So yes, maybe they believed it. I mean, I think there's convincing evidence that the Japanese fascists believed that they were doing good when they carried out things in the Second World War. John Stewart Mill surely believed he was being honorable and noble when he was calling for the conquest of India right after some of the worst atrocities which I mentioned, you can easily believe you are noble. I mean, to me it's obvious that it was going to harm the democratic movement, I heard about it and I couldn't get much information but it was obvious that it was going to happen. I mean it is happening right now in Iran. There is a democratic movement in Iran, they are pleading with the United States not to maintain a harsh embargo, certainly not to attack, it is harming them, and it strengthens the most reactionary violent elements in the society, of course.

DM: Let me ask you one final question about the future. Negotiations over Kosovo's final status are under way right now, the United States is backing Agim Ceku, who was someone involved in ethnic cleansing not only in...

NC: Not someone. He was a war criminal himself. What about the Krajina expulsion, which he was....

DM: First of all, what do you see as an appropriate, realistic solution for the final status of Kosovo and how does that differ from what the United States is now promoting?

NC: My feeling has been for a long time that the only realistic solution is one that in fact was offered by the President of Serbia I think back round 1993 [Chomsky is referring to the proposal of former Serbian President of Yugoslavia, Dobrica Cosic], namely some kind of partition, with the Serbian, by now very few Serbs left but the, what were the Serbian areas being part of Serbia and the rest be what they called "independent" which means it'll join Albania. I just don't see…I didn't see any other feasible solution ten years ago.

DM: Shall we wrap up? Professor Chomsky, thank you very much.

== another ILLUMINATING interview that Ian Wiliams ought to read and fact check ==


A Review of NATO’s War over Kosovo

Noam Chomsky

Z Magazine, April-May, 2001


The tumult having subsided, it should be possible to undertake a relatively dispassionate review and analysis of NATO’s war over Kosovo. One might have expected the theme to have dominated the year-end millennarianism, considering the exuberance the war elicited in Western intellectual circles and the tidal wave of self-adulation by respected voices, lauding the first war in history fought "in the name of principles and values," the first bold step towards a "new era" in which the "enlightened states" will protect the human rights of all under the guiding hand of an "idealistic New World bent on ending inhumanity," now freed from the shackles of archaic concepts of world order. But it received scant mention.

A rare exception was the Wall Street Journal, which devoted its lead story on December 31 to an in-depth analysis of what had taken place. The headline reads: "War in Kosovo Was Cruel, Bitter, Savage; Genocide It Wasn’t." The conclusion contrasts rather sharply with wartime propaganda. A database search of references to "genocide" in Kosovo for the first week of bombing alone was interrupted when it reached its limit of 1,000 documents.

As NATO forces entered Kosovo, tremendous efforts were undertaken to discover evidence of war crimes, a "model of speed and efficiency" to ensure that no evidence would be lost or overlooked. The efforts "build on lessons learned from past mistakes." They reflect "a growing international focus on holding war criminals accountable." Furthermore, analysts add, "proving the scale of the crimes is also important to NATO politically, to show why 78 days of airstrikes against Serbian forces and infrastructure were necessary."

The logic, widely accepted, is intriguing. Uncontroversially, the vast crimes took place after the bombing began: they were not a cause but a consequence. It requires considerable audacity, therefore, to take the crimes to provide retrospective justification for the actions that contributed to inciting them.

One "lesson learned," and quickly applied, was the need to avoid a serious inquiry into crimes in East Timor. Here there was no "model of speed and efficiency." Few forensic experts were sent despite the pleas of the UN peacekeeping mission, and those were delayed for four months, well after the rainy season would remove essential evidence. The mission itself was delayed even after the country had been virtually destroyed and most of its population expelled. The distinction is not hard to comprehend. In East Timor, the crimes were attributable directly to state terrorists who were supported by the West right through the final days of their atrocities. Accordingly, issues of deterrence and accountability can hardly be on the agenda. In Kosovo, in contrast, evidence of terrible crimes can be adduced to provide retrospective justification for the NATO war, on the interesting principle that has been established by the doctrinal system.



Despite the intensive efforts, the results of "the mass-grave obsession," as the WSJ analysts call it, were disappointingly thin. Instead of "the huge killing fields some investigators were led to expect,..the pattern is of scattered killings," a form of "ethnic cleansing light." "Most killings and burnings [were] in areas where the separatist Kosovo Liberation Army [KLA-UCK] had been active" or could infiltrate, some human-rights researchers reported, an attempt "to clear out areas of KLA support, using selective terror, robberies and sporadic killings." These conclusions gain some support from the detailed OSCE review released in December, which "suggests a kind of military rationale for the expulsions, which were concentrated in areas controlled by the insurgents and along likely invasion routes."

The WSJ analysis concludes that "NATO stepped up its claims about Serb ‘killing fields’" when it "saw a fatigued press corps drifting toward the contrarian story: civilians killed by NATO’s bombs." NATO spokesperson Jamie Shea presented "information" that can be traced to KLA-UCK sources. Many of the most lurid and prominently-published atrocity reports attributed to refugees and other sources were untrue, the WSJ concludes. Meanwhile NATO sought to deny its own atrocities, for example, by releasing a falsified videotape "shown at triple its real speed" to make it appear that "the killing of at least 14 civilians aboard a train on a bridge in Serbia last April" was unavoidable because "the train had been traveling too fast for the trajectory of the missiles to have been changed in time."

The WSJ analysts nevertheless conclude that the "heinous" crimes, including the huge campaign of expulsion, "may well be enough to justify" the NATO bombing campaign, on the principle of retrospective justification.




The OSCE study is the third major source concerning Serb crimes. The first is the State Department’s case against Milosevic and his associates in May; the second, their formal indictment shortly after by the International Tribunal on War Crimes. The two documents are very similar, presumably because the "remarkably fast indictment" by the Tribunal was based on U.S.-U.K. "intelligence and other information long denied to [the Tribunal] by Western governments." Few expect that such information would be released for a War Crimes Tribunal on East Timor, in the unlikely event that there is one. The State Department updated its case in December 1999, with what is intended to be the definitive justification for the bombing, adding whatever information could be obtained from refugees and investigations after the war.

In the two State Department reports and the Tribunal indictment, the detailed chronologies are restricted, almost entirely, to the period that followed the bombing campaign initiated on March 24. Thus, the final State Department report of December 1999 refers vaguely to "late March" or "after March," apart from a single reference to refugee reports of an execution on March 23, the day of NATO’s official declaration that the air operations announced on March 22 would begin. The one significant exception is the January 15 Racak massacre of 45 people. But that cannot have been the motive for the bombing, for two sufficient reasons: first, the OSCE monitors and other international observers (including NATO) report this to be an isolated event, with nothing similar in the following months up to the bombing; we return to that record directly. And second, such atrocities are of little concern to the U.S. and its allies. Evidence for the latter conclusion is overwhelming, and it was confirmed once again shortly after the Racak massacre, when Indonesian forces and their paramilitary subordinates brutally murdered 50 or more people who had taken refuge from Indonesian terror in a church in the remote Timorese village of Liquica. Unlike Racak, this was only one of many massacres in East Timor at that time, with a toll well beyond anything attributed to Milosevic in Kosovo: 3-5000 killed from January 1999, credible church sources reported on August 6, about twice the number killed on all sides in Kosovo in the year prior to the bombing, according to NATO. Historian John Taylor estimates the toll at 5-6000 from January to the August 30 referendum.






The U.S. and its allies reacted to the East Timor massacres in the familiar way: by continuing to provide military and other aid to the killers and maintaining other military arrangements, including joint training exercises as late as August, while insisting that security in East Timor "is the responsibility of the Government of Indonesia, and we don’t want to take that responsibility away from them."

In summary, the State Department and the Tribunal make no serious effort to justify the bombing campaign or the withdrawal of the OSCE monitors on March 20 in preparation for it.

The OSCE inquiry conforms closely to the indictments produced by the State Department and the Tribunal. It records "the pattern of the expulsions and the vast increase in lootings, killings, rape, kidnappings and pillage once the NATO air war began on March 24." "The most visible change in the events was after NATO launched its first airstrikes" on March 24, the OSCE reports. "On one hand, the situation seemed to have slipped out of the control of any authorities, as lawlessness reigned in the form of killings and the looting of houses. On the other, the massive expulsion of thousands of residents from the city, which mostly took place in the last week of March and in early April, followed a certain pattern and was conceivably organized well in advance."

The word "conceivably" is surely an understatement. Even without documentary evidence, one can scarcely doubt that Serbia had contingency plans for expulsion of the population, and would be likely to put them into effect under NATO bombardment, with the prospect of direct invasion. It is commonly argued that the bombing is justified by the contingency plans that were implemented in response to the bombing. Again, the logic is interesting. Adopting the same principle, terrorist attacks on U.S. targets would be justified if they elicited a nuclear attack, in accord with contingency plans—which exist—for first strike, even preemptive strike against nonnuclear states that have signed the nonproliferation treaty. An Iranian missile attack on Israel with a credible invasion threat would be justified if Israel responded by implementing its detailed contingency plans—which presumably exist—for expelling the Palestinian population.

The OSCE inquiry reports further that "Once the OSCE-KVM [monitors] left on 20 March 1999 and in particular after the start of the NATO bombing of the FRY on 24 March, Serbian police and/or VJ [army], often accompanied by paramilitaries, went from village to village and, in the towns, from area to area threatening and expelling the Kosovo Albanian population." The departure of the monitors also precipitated an increase in KLA-UCK ambushes of Serbian police officers, "provoking a strong reaction" by police, an escalation from "the prewar atmosphere, when Serbian forces were facing off against the rebels, who were kidnapping Serbian civilians and ambushing police officers and soldiers."




For understanding of NATO’s resort to war, the most important period is the months leading up to the decision. Of course, what NATO knew about that period is a matter of critical significance for any serious attempt to evaluate the decision to bomb Yugoslavia without Security Council authorization. Fortunately, that is the period for which we have the most detailed direct evidence: namely, from the reports of the KVM monitors and other international observers. Unfortunately, the OSCE inquiry passes over these months quickly, presenting little evidence and concentrating rather on the period after monitors were withdrawn. A selection of KVM reports is, however, available, along with others by NATO and independent international observers. These merit close scrutiny.

The relevant period begins in December, with the breakdown of the cease-fire that had permitted the return of many people displaced by the fighting. Throughout these months, the monitors report that "humanitarian agencies in general have unhindered access to all areas of Kosovo," with occasional harassment from Serb security forces and KLA paramilitaries, so the information may be presumed to be fairly comprehensive.



The "most serious incidents" reported by the ICRC in December are clashes along the FRY-Albanian border, and "what appear to be the first deliberate attacks on public places in urban areas." The UN Inter-Agency Update (December 24) identifies these as an attempt by armed Albanians to cross into Kosovo from Albania, leaving at least 36 armed men dead, and the killing of 6 Serbian teenagers by masked men spraying gunfire in a cafe in the largely Serbian city of Pec. The next incident is the abduction and murder of the deputy mayor of Kosovo Polie, attributed by NATO to the KLA-UCK. Then follows a report of "abductions attributed to the KLA." The UN Secretary-General’s report (December 24) reviews the same evidence, citing the figure of 282 civilians and police abducted by the KLA as of December 7 (FRY figures). The general picture is that after the October cease-fire, "Kosovo Albanian paramilitary units have taken advantage of the lull in the fighting to re-establish their control over many villages in Kosovo, as well as over some areas near urban centres and highways,...leading to statements [by Serbian authorities] that if the [KVM] cannot control these units the Government would."

The UN Inter-Agency Update on January 11 is similar. It reports fighting between Serb security forces and the KLA. In addition, in "the most serious incident since the declaration of the ceasefire in October 1998, the period under review has witnessed an increase in the number of murders (allegedly perpetrated by the KLA), which have prompted vigorous retaliatory action by government security forces." "Random violence" killed 21 people in the preceding 11 days. Only one example is cited: a bomb outside "a cafe in Pristina, injuring three Serbian youths and triggering retaliatory attacks by Serbian civilians on Albanians," the first such incident in the capital. The other major incidents cited are KLA capture of eight soldiers, the killing of a Serbian civilian, and the reported killing of three Serbian police. NATO’s review of the period is similar, with further details: VJ shelling of civilian and UCK facilities with "at least 15 Kosovo Albanians" killed, UCK killing of a Serb judge, police and civilians, etc.

Then comes the Racak massacre of January 15, after which the reports return pretty much to what preceded. The OSCE monthly Report of February 20 describes the situation as "volatile." Serb-KLA "direct military engagement...dropped significantly," but KLA attacks on police and "sporadic exchange of gunfire" continued, "including at times the use of heavy weapons by the VJ." The "main feature of the last part of the reporting period has been an alarming increase in urban terrorism with a series of indiscriminate bombing or raking gunfire attacks against civilians in public places in towns throughout Kosovo"; these are "non-attributable," either "criminally or politically motivated." Then follows a review of police-KLA confrontations, KLA abduction of "five elderly Serb civilians," and refusal of KLA and VJ to comply with Security Council resolutions. Five civilians were killed as "urban violence increased significantly," including three killed by a bomb outside an Albanian grocery store. "More reports were received of the KLA ‘policing’ the Albanian community and administering punishments to those charged as collaborators with the Serbs," also murder and abduction of alleged Albanian collaborators and Serb police. The "cycle of confrontation can be generally described" as KLA attacks on Serb police and civilians, "a disproportionate response by the FRY authorities," and "renewed KLA activity elsewhere."




In his monthly report, March 17, the UN Secretary-General reports that clashes between Serb security forces and the KLA "continued at a relatively lower level," but civilians "are increasingly becoming the main target of violent acts," including killings, executions, mistreatment, and abductions. The UNHCR "registered more than 65 violent deaths" of Albanian and Serb civilians (and several Roma) from January 20 to March 17. These are reported to be isolated killings by gunmen and grenade attacks on cafes and shops. Victims included alleged Albanian collaborators and "civilians known for open-mindedness and flexibility in community relations." Abductions continued, the victims almost all Serbs, mostly civilians. The OSCE report of March 20 gave a similar picture, reporting "unprovoked attacks by the KLA against the police" and an increase in casualties among Serb security forces, along with "Military operations affecting the civilian population," "Indiscriminate urban terrorist attacks targeting civilians," "non-attributable murders," mostly Albanians, and abduction of Albanian civilians, allegedly by a "centrally-controlled" KLA "security force." Specific incidents are then reported.

The last NATO report (January 16–March 22) cites several dozen incidents, about half initiated by KLA-UCK, half by Serb security forces, in addition to half a dozen responses by Serb security forces and engagements with the KLA, including "Aggressive Serb attacks on villages suspected of harbouring UCK forces or command centres." Casualties reported are mostly military, at the levels of the preceding months.

As a standard of comparison, one might consider the regular murderous and destructive U.S.-backed Israeli military operations in Lebanon when Israeli forces occupying southern Lebanon in violation of Security Council orders, or their local mercenaries, are attacked by the Lebanese resistance. Through the 1990s, as before, these have far exceeded anything attributed to the FRY security forces within what NATO insists is their territory.

Within Kosovo, no significant changes are reported from the breakdown of the cease-fire in December until the March 22 decision to bomb. Even apart from the (apparently isolated) Racak massacre, there can be no doubt that the FRY authorities and security forces were responsible for serious crimes. But the reported record also lends no credibility to the claim that these were the reason for the bombing; in the case of comparable or much worse atrocities during the same period, the U.S. and its allies either did not react, or—more significantly—maintained and even increased their support for the atrocities. Examples are all too easy to enumerate, East Timor in the same months, to mention only the most obvious one.

The vast expulsions from Kosovo began immediately after the March 24 bombing campaign. On March 27, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported that 4,000 had fled Kosovo, and on April 1, the flow was high enough for UNHCR to begin to provide daily figures. Its Humanitarian Evacuation Programme began on April 5. From the last week of March to the end of the war in June, "forces of the FRY and Serbia forcibly expelled some 863,000 Kosovo Albanians from Kosovo," the OSCE reports, and hundreds of thousands of others were internally displaced, while unknown numbers of Serbs, Gypsies, and others fled as well.




The U.S. and UK had been planning the bombing campaign for many months, and could hardly have failed to anticipate these consequences. In early March, Italian Prime Minister Massimo D’Alema warned Clinton of the huge refugee flow that would follow the bombing; Clinton’s National Security Adviser Sandy Berger responded that in that case "NATO will keep bombing," with still more horrific results. U.S. intelligence also warned that there would be "a virtual explosion of refugees" and a campaign of ethnic cleansing, reiterating earlier predictions of European monitors.

As the bombing campaign began, U.S.-NATO Commanding General Wesley Clark informed the press that it was "entirely predictable" that Serb terror would intensify as a result. Shortly after, Clark explained again that "The military authorities fully anticipated the vicious approach that Milosevic would adopt, as well as the terrible efficiency with which he would carry it out." Elaborating a few weeks later, he observed that the NATO operation planned by "the political leadership...was not designed as a means of blocking Serb ethnic cleansing. It was not designed as a means of waging war against the Serb and MUP [internal police] forces in Kosovo. Not in any way. There was never any intent to do that. That was not the idea." General Clark stated further that plans for Operation Horseshoe "have never been shared with me," referring to the alleged Serb plan to expel the population that was publicized by NATO after the shocking Serb reaction to the bombing had become evident.

The agency that bears primary responsibility for care of refugees is UNHCR. "At the war’s end, British Prime Minister Tony Blair privately took the agency to task for what he considered its problematic performance." Evidently, the performance of UNHCR would have been less problematic had the agency not been defunded by the great powers. For this reason, the UNHCR had to cut staff by over 15 percent in 1998. In October, while the bombing plans were being formulated, the UNHCR announced that it would have to eliminate a fifth of its remaining staff by January 1999 because of the budgetary crisis created by the "enlightened states."



In summary, the KVM monitors were removed and a bombing campaign initiated with the expectation, quickly fulfilled, that the consequence would be a sharp escalation of ethnic cleansing and other atrocities, after the organization responsible for care of refugees was defunded. Under the doctrine of retrospective justification, the heinous crimes that ensued are now held to be, perhaps, "enough to justify" the NATO bombing campaign.

The person who commits a crime bears the primary responsibility for it; those who incite him, anticipating the consequences, bear secondary responsibility, which only mounts if they act to increase the suffering of the victims. The only possible argument for action to incite the crimes is that they would have been even more severe had the action not been undertaken. That claim, one of the most remarkable in the history of support for state violence, requires substantial evidence. In the present case, one will seek evidence in vain—even recognition that it is required.

Suppose, nevertheless, that we take the argument seriously. It plainly loses force to the extent that the subsequent crimes are great. If no Kosovar Albanians had suffered as a result of the NATO bombing campaign, the decision to bomb might be justified on the grounds that crimes against them were deterred. The force of the argument diminishes as the scale of the crimes increases. It is, therefore, rather curious that supporters of the bombing seek to portray the worst possible picture of the crimes for which they share responsibility; the opposite should be the case. The odd stance presumably reflects the success in instilling the doctrine that the crimes incited by the NATO bombing provide retrospective justification for it.

This is by no means the only impressive feat of doctrinal management. Another is the debate over NATO’s alleged "double standards," revealed by its "looking away" from other humanitarian crises, or "doing too little" to prevent them. Participants in the debate must be agreeing that NATO was guided by humanitarian principles in Kosovo— precisely the question at issue. That aside, the Clinton administration did not "look away" or "do too little" in the face of atrocities in East Timor, or Colombia, or many other places. Rather, along with its allies, it chose to escalate the atrocities, often vigorously and decisively. Perhaps the case of Turkey—within NATO and under European jurisdiction—is the most relevant in the present connection. Its ethnic cleansing operations and other crimes, enormous in scale, were carried out with a huge flow of military aid from the Clinton administration, increasing as atrocities mounted. They have also virtually disappeared from history. There was no mention of them at the 50th anniversary meeting of NATO in April 1999, held under the shadow of ethnic cleansing—a crime that cannot be tolerated, participants and commentators declaimed, near the borders of NATO; only within its borders, where the crimes are to be expedited. With rare exceptions, the press has kept to occasional apologetics, though the participation of Turkish forces in the Kosovo campaign was highly praised. More recent debate over the problems of "humanitarian intervention" evades the crucial U.S. role in the Turkish atrocities, or ignores the topic altogether.

It is a rare achievement for a propaganda system to have its doctrines adopted as the very presuppositions of debate. These are among the "lessons learned," to be applied in future exercises cloaked in humanitarian intent.

The absurdity of the principle of retrospective justification is, surely, recognized at some level. Accordingly, many attempts to justify the NATO bombing take a different tack. One typical version is that "Serbia assaulted Kosovo to squash a separatist Albanian guerrilla movement, but killed 10,000 civilians and drove 700,000 people into refuge in Macedonia and Albania. NATO attacked Serbia from the air in the name of protecting the Albanians from ethnic cleansing [but] killed hundreds of Serb civilians and provoked an exodus of tens of thousands from cities into the countryside." Assuming that order of events, a rationale for the bombing can be constructed. But uncontroversially, the actual order is the opposite.

The device is common in the media, and scholarship often adopts a similar stance. In a widely-praised book on the war, historian David Fromkin asserts without argument that the U.S. and its allies acted out of "altruism" and "moral fervor" alone, forging "a new kind of approach to the use of power in world politics" as they "reacted to the deportation of more than a million Kosovars from their homeland" by bombing so as to save them "from horrors of suffering, or from death." He is referring to those expelled as the anticipated consequence of the bombing campaign. Opening her legal defense of the war, Law Professor Ruth Wedgwood assumes without argument that the objective of the NATO bombing was "to stem Belgrade’s expulsion of ethnic Albanians from Kosovo"— namely, the expulsion precipitated by the bombing, and an objective unknown to the military commander and forcefully denied by him. International affairs and security specialist Alan Kuperman writes that in East Timor and Kosovo, "the threat of economic sanctions or bombing has provoked a tragic backlash," and "Western intervention arrived too late to prevent the widespread atrocities." In Kosovo the bombing did not arrive "too late to prevent the widespread atrocities," but preceded them, and as anticipated, incited them. In East Timor, no Western action "provoked a tragic backlash." The use of force was not proposed, and even the threat of sanctions was delayed until after the consummation of the atrocities. The "intervention" was by a UN peacekeeping force that entered the Portuguese-administered territory, under UN jurisdiction in principle, after the Western powers finally withdrew their direct support for the Indonesian invasion and its massive atrocities, and its army quickly left.

Such revision of the factual record has been standard procedure throughout. In a typical earlier version, New York Times foreign policy specialist Thomas Friedman wrote at the war’s end that, "once the refugee evictions began, ignoring Kosovo would be wrong...and therefore using a huge air war for a limited objective was the only thing that made sense." The refugee evictions to which he refers followed the "huge air war," as anticipated. Again, the familiar inversion, which is understandable: without it, defense of state violence becomes difficult indeed.

One commonly voiced retrospective justification is that the resort to force made it possible for Kosovar Albanians to return to their homes; a significant achievement, if we overlook the fact that almost all were driven from their homes in reaction to the bombing. By this reasoning, a preferable alternative—grotesque, but less so than the policy pursued—would have been to wait to see whether the Serbs would carry out the alleged threat, and if they did, to bomb the FRY to ensure the return of the Kosovars, who would have suffered far less harm than they did when expelled under NATO’s bombs.

An interesting variant appears in Cambridge University Law Professor Marc Weller’s introduction to the volume of documents on Kosovo that he edited. He recognizes that the NATO bombing, which he strongly supported, is in clear violation of international law, and might be justified only on the basis of an alleged "right of humanitarian intervention." That justification in turn rests on the assumption that the FRY refusal "to accept a very detailed settlement of the Kosovo issue [the Rambouillet ultimatum] would constitute a circumstance triggering an overwhelming humanitarian emergency." But events on the ground "relieved NATO of having to answer this point," he writes: namely, "the commencement of a massive and pre-planned campaign of forced deportation of what at one stage seemed to be almost the entire ethnic Albanian population of Kosovo just before the bombing campaign commenced."

There are two problems. First, the documentary record, including the volume he edited, provides no evidence for his crucial factual claim, and indeed refutes it (given the absence of evidence despite extensive efforts to unearth it). Second, even if it had been discovered later that the expulsion had commenced before the bombing, that could hardly justify the resort to force, by simple logic. Furthermore, as just discussed, even if the commencement of the expulsion had been known before the bombing (though mysteriously missing from the documentary record), it would have been far preferable to allow the expulsion to proceed, and then to initiate the bombing to ensure the return of those expelled: grotesque, but far less so than what was undertaken. But in the light of the evidence available, all of this is academic, merely an indication of the desperation of the efforts to justify the war.

Were less grotesque options available in March 1999? The burden of proof, of course, is on those who advocate state violence; it is a heavy burden, which there has been no serious attempt to meet. But let us put that aside, and look into the range of options available.

An important question, raised by Eric Rouleau, is whether "Serbian atrocities had reached such proportions as to warrant breaking off the diplomatic process to save the Kosovars from genocide." He observes that "The OSCE’s continuing refusal to release the report [on the observations of the KVM monitors from November until their withdrawal] can only strengthen doubts about the truth of that allegation." As noted earlier, the State Department and Tribunal indictments provide no meaningful support for the allegation—not an insignificant fact, since both sought to develop the strongest case. What about the OSCE report, released since Rouleau wrote? As noted, the report makes no serious effort to support the allegation, indeed provides little information about the crucial period. Its references in fact confirm the testimony of French KVM member Jacques Prod’homme, which Rouleau cites, that "in the month leading up to the war, during which he moved freely throughout the Pec region, neither he nor his colleagues observed anything that could be described as systematic persecution, either collective or individual murders, burning of houses or deportations." The detailed reports of KVM and other observers omitted from the OSCE review undermine the allegation further, as already discussed.

The crucial allegation remains unsupported, though it is the central component of NATO’s case, as even the most dedicated advocates recognize, Weller for example. Once again, it should be stressed that a heavy burden of proof lies on those who put it forth to justify the resort to violence. The discrepancy between what is required and the evidence presented is quite striking; the term "contradiction" would be more apt, particularly when we consider other pertinent evidence, such as the direct testimony of the military commander, General Clark.

Kosovo had been an extremely ugly place in the preceding year. About 2,000 were killed according to NATO, mostly Albanians, in the course of a bitter struggle that began in February with KLA actions that the U.S. denounced as "terrorism," and a brutal Serb response. By summer the KLA had taken over about 40 percent of the province, eliciting a vicious reaction by Serb security forces and paramilitaries, targeting the civilian population. According to Albanian Kosovar legal adviser Marc Weller, "within a few days [after the withdrawal of the monitors on March 20], the number of displaced had again risen to over 200,000," figures that conform roughly to U.S. intelligence reports.

Suppose the monitors had not been withdrawn in preparation for the bombing and diplomatic efforts had been pursued. Were such options feasible? Would they have led to an even worse outcome, or perhaps a better one? Since NATO refused to entertain this possibility, we cannot know. But we can at least consider the known facts, and ask what they suggest.

Could the KVM monitors have been left in place, preferably strengthened? That seems possible, particularly in the light of the immediate condemnation of the withdrawal by the Serb National Assembly. No argument has been advanced to suggest that the reported increase in atrocities after their withdrawal would have taken place even had they remained, let alone the vast escalation that was the predicted consequence of the bombing signalled by the withdrawal. NATO also made little effort to pursue other peaceful means; even an oil embargo, the core of any serious sanctions regime, was not considered until after the bombing.

The most important question, however, has to do with the diplomatic options. Two proposals were on the table on the eve of the bombing. One was the Rambouillet accord, presented to Serbia as an ultimatum. The second was Serbia’s position, formulated in its March 15 "Revised Draft Agreement" and the Serb National Assembly Resolution of March 23. A serious concern for protecting Kosovars might well have brought into consideration other options as well, including, perhaps, something like the 1992-93 proposal of the Serbian president of Yugoslavia, Dobrica Cosic, that Kosovo be partitioned, separating itself from Serbia apart from "a number of Serbian enclaves." At the time, the proposal was rejected by Ibrahim Rugova’s Republic of Kosovo, which had declared independence and set up a parallel government; but it might have served as a basis for negotiation in the different circumstances of early 1999. Let us, however, keep to the two official positions of late March: the Rambouillet ultimatum and the Serb Resolution.

It is important and revealing that, with marginal exceptions, the essential contents of both positions were kept from the public eye, apart from dissident media that reach few people.

The Serb National Assembly Resolution, though reported at once on the wire services, has remained a virtual secret. There has been little indication even of its existence, let alone its contents. The Resolution condemned the withdrawal of the OSCE monitors and called on the UN and OSCE to facilitate a diplomatic settlement through negotations "toward the reaching of a political agreement on a wide-ranging autonomy for [Kosovo], with the securing of a full equality of all citizens and ethnic communities and with respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic of Serbia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia." It raised the possibility of an "international presence" of a "size and character" to be determined to carry out the "political accord on the self-rule agreed and accepted by the representatives of all national communities living in [Kosovo]." FRY agreement "to discuss the scope and character of international presence in [Kosovo] to implement the agreement to be accepted in Rambouillet" had been formally conveyed to the Negotiators on February 23, and announced by the FRY at a press conference the same day. Whether these proposals had any substance we cannot know, since they were never considered, and remain unknown.

Perhaps even more striking is that the Rambouillet ultimatum, though universally described as the peace proposal, was also kept from the public, particularly the provisions that were apparently introduced in the final moments of the Paris peace talks in March after Serbia had expressed agreement with the main political proposals, and that virtually guaranteed rejection. Of particular importance are the terms of the implementation Appendices that accorded to NATO the right of "free and unrestricted passage and unimpeded access throughout the FRY including associated airspace and territorial waters," without limits or obligations or concern for the laws of the country or the jurisdiction of its authorities, who are, however, required to follow NATO orders "on a priority basis and with all appropriate means" (Appendix B).

The Annex was kept from journalists covering the Rambouillet and Paris talks, Robert Fisk reports. "The Serbs say they denounced it at their last Paris press conference—an ill-attended gathering at the Yugoslav Embassy at 11 PM on 18 March." Serb dissidents who took part in the negotiations allege that they were given these conditions on the last day of the Paris talks, and that the Russians did not know about them. These provisions were not made available to the British House of Commons until April 1, the first day of the Parliamentary recess, a week after the bombing started.

In the negotiations that began after the bombing, NATO abandoned these demands entirely, along with others to which Serbia had been opposed, and there is no mention of them in the final peace agreement. Reasonably, Fisk asks: "What was the real purpose of NATO’s last minute demand? Was it a Trojan horse? To save the peace? Or to sabotage it?" Whatever the answer, if the NATO negotiators had been concerned with the fate of the Kosovar Albanians, they would have sought to determine whether diplomacy could succeed if NATO’s most provocative, and evidently irrelevant, demands had been withdrawn; the monitoring enhanced, not terminated; and significant sanctions threatened.

When such questions have been raised, leaders of the U.S. and UK negotiating teams have claimed that they were willing to drop the exorbitant demands that they later withdrew, but that the Serbs refused. The claim is hardly credible. There would have been every reason for them to have made such facts public at once. It is interesting that they are not called to account for this startling performance.

Prominent advocates of the bombing have made similar claims. An important example is the commentary on Rambouillet by Marc Weller. Weller ridicules the "extravagant claims" about the implementation Appendices, which he claims were "published along with the agreement," meaning the Draft Agreement dated February 23. Where they were published he does not say, nor does he explain why reporters covering the Rambouillet and Paris talks were unaware of them; or, it appears, the British Parliament. The "famous Appendix B," he states, established "the standard terms of a status of forces agreement for KFOR [the planned NATO occupying forces]." He does not explain why the demand was dropped by NATO after the bombing began, and is evidently not required by the forces that entered Kosovo under NATO command in June, which are far larger than what was contemplated at Rambouillet and therefore should be even more dependent on the status of forces agreement. Also unexplained is the March 15 FRY response to the February 23 Draft Agreement. The FRY response goes through the Draft Agreement in close detail, section by section, proposing extensive changes and deletions throughout, but includes no mention at all of the appendices—the implementation agreements, which, as Weller points out, were by far the most important part and were the subject of the Paris negotations then underway. One can only view his account with some skepticism, even apart from his casual attitude toward crucial fact, already noted, and his clear commitments. For the moment, these important matters remain buried in obscurity.

Despite official efforts to prevent public awareness of what was happening, the documents were available to any news media that chose to pursue the matter. In the U.S., the extreme (and plainly irrelevant) demand for virtual NATO occupation of the FRY received its first mention at a NATO briefing of April 26, when a question was raised about it, but was quickly dismissed and not pursued. The facts were reported as soon as the demands had been formally withdrawn and had become irrelevant to democratic choice. Immediately after the announcement of the peace accords of June 3, the press quoted the crucial passages of the "take it or leave it" Rambouillet ultimatum, noting that they required that "a purely NATO force was to be given full permission to go anywhere it wanted in Yugoslavia, immune from any legal process," and that "NATO-led troops would have had virtually free access across Yugoslavia, not just Kosovo."

Through the 78 days of bombing, negotiations continued, each side making compromises—described in the U.S. as Serb deceit, or capitulation under the bombs. The peace agreement of June 3 was a compromise between the two positions on the table in late March. NATO abandoned its most extreme demands, including those that had apparently undermined the negotations at the last minute and the wording that had been interpreted as calling for a referendum on independence. Serbia agreed to an "international security presence with substantial NATO participation," the sole mention of NATO in the peace agreement or Security Council Resolution 1244 affirming it. NATO had no intention of living up to the scraps of paper it had signed, and moved at once to violate them, implementing a military occupation of Kosovo under NATO command. When Serbia and Russia insisted on the terms of the formal agreements, they were castigated for their deceit, and bombing was renewed to bring them to heel. On June 7, NATO planes again bombed the oil refineries in Novi Sad and Pancevo, both centers of opposition to Milosevic. The Pancevo refinery burst into flames, releasing a huge cloud of toxic fumes, shown in a photo accompanying a New York Times story of July 14, which discussed the severe economic and health effects. The bombing was not reported, though it was covered by wire services.

It has been argued that Milosevic would have tried to evade the terms of an agreement, had one been reached in March. The record strongly supports that conclusion, just as it supports the same conclusion about NATO—not only in this case, incidentally; forceful dismantling of formal agreements is the norm on the part of the great powers. As now belatedly recognized, the record also suggests that "it might have been possible [in March] to initiate a genuine set of negotiations—not the disastrous American diktat presented to Milosevic at the Rambouillet conference—and to insert a large contingent of outside monitors capable of protecting Albanian and Serb civilians alike."

At least this much seems clear. NATO chose to reject diplomatic options that were not exhausted, and to launch a military campaign that had terrible consequences for Kosovar Albanians, as anticipated. Other consequences are of little concern in the West, including the devastation of the civilian economy of Serbia by military operations that severely violate the laws of war. Though the matter was brought to the War Crimes Tribunal long ago, it is hard to imagine that it will be seriously addressed. For similar reasons, there is little likelihood that the Tribunal will pay attention to its 150-page "Indictment Operation Storm: A Prima Facie Case," reviewing the war crimes committed by Croatian forces that drove some 200,000 Serbs from Krajina in August 1995 with crucial U.S. involvement that elicited "almost total lack of interest in the U.S. press and in the U.S. Congress," New York Times Balkans correspondent David Binder observes.

The suffering of Kosovars did not end with the arrival of the NATO (KFOR) occupying army and the UN mission. Though billions of dollars were readily available for bombing, as of October the U.S. "has yet to pay any of the $37.9 million assessed for the start-up costs of the United Nations civilian operation in Kosovo"; as in East Timor, where the Clinton administration called for reduction of the small peacekeeping force. By November, "the U.S. Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance has yet to distribute any heavy-duty kits and is only now bringing lumber" for the winter shelter program in Kosovo; the UNHCR and EU humanitarian agency ECHO have also "been dogged with criticism for delays and lack of foresight." The current shortfall for the UN mission is "the price of half a day’s bombing," an embittered senior UN official said, and without it "this place will fail," to the great pleasure of Milosevic. A November donors’ conference of Western governments pledged only $88 million to cover the budget of the UN mission in Kosovo, but pledged $1 billion in aid for reconstruction for the next year—public funds that will be transferred to the pockets of private contractors, if there is some resolution of the controversies within NATO about how the contracts are to be distributed. In mid-December the UN mission again pleaded for funds for teachers, police officers, and other civil servants, to little effect.

Despite the limited aid, the appeal of a disaster that can be attributed to an official enemy, and exploited (on curious grounds) "to show why 78 days of airstrikes against Serbian forces and infrastructure were necessary," has been sufficient to bring severe cutbacks in aid elsewhere. The U.S. Senate is planning to cut tens of millions of dollars from Africa-related programs. Denmark has reduced non-Kosovo assistance by 26 percent. International Medical Corps is suspending its Angola program, having raised $5 million for Kosovo while it hunts, in vain, for $1.5 million for Angola, where 1.6 million displaced people face starvation. The World Food Program announced that it would have to curtail its programs for 2 million refugees in Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea, having received less than 20 percent of requested funding. The same fate awaits four million starving people in Africa’s Great Lakes region—whose circumstances are not unrelated to Western actions over many years, and refusal to act at critical moments. UNHCR expenditures per refugee in the Balkans are 11 times as high as in Africa. "The hundreds of millions of dollars spent on Kosovo refugees and the crush of aid agencies eager to spend it ‘was almost an obscenity,’ said Randolph Kent," who moved from UN programs in the Balkans to East Africa. President Clinton held a meeting with leading aid agencies "to emphasize his own enthusiasm for aid to Kosovo."

All of this is against the background of very sharp reductions in aid in the United States, now "at the height of its glory" (Fromkin), the leadership basking in adulation for their historically unprecedent "altruism" as they virtually disappear from the list of donors to the poor and miserable.

The OSCE inquiry provides a detailed record of crimes committed under NATO military occupation. Though these do not begin to compare with the crimes committed by Serbia under NATO bombardment, they are not insignificant. The occupied province is filled with "lawlessness that has left violence unchecked," much of it attributed to the KLA-UCK, OSCE reports, while "impunity has reigned instead of justice." Albanian opponents of the "new order" under "UCK dominance," including officials of the "rebel group’s principal political rival," have been kidnapped, murdered, targeted in grenade attacks, and otherwise harassed and ordered to withdraw from politics. The one selection from the OSCE reports in the New York Times concerns the town of Prizren, near the Albanian border. It was attacked by Serbs on March 28, but "the overall result is that far more damage has been caused...after the war than during it." British military police report involvement of the Albanian mafia in grenade attacks and other crimes, among such acts as murder of elderly women by "men describing themselves as KLA representatives."

The Serb minority has been largely expelled. Robert Fisk reports that "the number of Serbs killed in the five months since the war comes close to that of Albanians murdered by Serbs in the five months before NATO began its bombardment in March," so available evidence indicates; recall that the UN reported "65 violent deaths" of civilians (Albanian and Serb primarily) in the two months before the withdrawal of the monitors and the bombing. Murders are not investigated, even the murder of a Serb employee of the International Tribunal. The Croat community "left en masse" in October. In November, "the president of the tiny Jewish community in Pristina, Cedra Prlincevic, left for Belgrade after denouncing ‘a pogrom against the non-Albanian population’." Amnesty International reported at the year’s end that "Violence against Serbs, Roma, Muslim Slavs and moderate Albanians in Kosovo has increased dramatically over the past month," including "murder, abductions, violent attacks, intimidation, and house burning...on a daily basis," as well as torture and rape, and attacks on independent Albanian media and political organizations in what appears to be "an organized campaign to silence moderate voices in ethnic Albanian society," all under the eyes of NATO forces.

KFOR officers report that their orders are to disregard crimes: "Of course it’s mad," a French commander said, "but those are the orders, from NATO, from above." NATO forces also "seem completely indifferent" to attacks by "armed ethnic Albanian raiders" across the Serb-Kosovo border "to terrorize border settlements, steal wood or livestock, and, in some cases, to kill," leaving towns abandoned.

Current indications are that Kosovo under NATO occupation has reverted to what was developing in the early 1980s, after the death of Tito, when nationalist forces undertook to create an "ethnically clean Albanian republic," taking over Serb lands, attacking churches, and engaging in "protracted violence" to attain the goal of an "ethnically pure" Albanian region, with "almost weekly incidents of rape, arson, pillage and industrial sabotage, most seemingly designed to drive Kosovo’s remaining indigenous Slavs...out of the province." This "seemingly intractable" problem, another phase in an ugly history of intercommunal violence, led to Milosevic’s characteristically brutal response, withdrawing Kosovo’s autonomy and the heavy federal subsidies on which it depended, and imposing an "Apartheid" regime. Kosovo may also come to resemble Bosnia, "a den of thieves and tax cheats" with no functioning economy, dominated by "a wealthy criminal class that wields enormous political influence and annually diverts hundreds of millions of dollars in potential tax revenue to itself." Much worse may be in store as independence for Kosovo becomes entangled in pressures for a "greater Albania," with dim portents.

The poorer countries of the region have incurred enormous losses from the blocking of the Danube by bombing at Novi Sad, another center of opposition to Milosevic. They were already suffering from protectionist barriers that "prevent the ships from plying their trade in the EU," as well as "a barrage of Western quotas and tariffs on their exports." But "blockage of the [Danube] is actually a boon" for Western Europe, particularly Germany, which benefits from increased activity on the Rhine and at Atlantic ports.

There are other winners. At the war’s end, the business press described "the real winners" as Western military industry, meaning high-tech industry generally. Moscow is looking forward to a "banner year for Russian weapons exports" as "the world is rearming apprehensively largely thanks to NATO’s Balkans adventure," seeking a deterrent, as widely predicted during the war. More important, the U.S. was able to enforce its domination over the strategic Balkans region, displacing EU initiatives at least temporarily, a primary reason for the insistence that the operation be in the hands of NATO, a U.S subsidiary. A destitute Serbia remains the last holdout, probably not for long.

A further consequence is another blow to the fragile principles of world order. The NATO action represents a threat to the "very core of the international security system" founded on the UN Charter, Secretary-General Kofi Annan observed in his annual report to the UN in September. That matters little to the rich and powerful, who will act as they please, rejecting World Court decisions and vetoing Security Council resolutions if that becomes necessary; it is useful to remember that, contrary to much mythology, the U.S. has been far in the lead in vetoing Security Council resolutions on a wide range of issues, including terror and aggression, ever since it lost control of the UN in the course of decolonization, with Britain second and France a distant third. But the traditional victims take these matters more seriously, as the global reaction to the Kosovo war indicated.

The essential point - not very obscure - is that the world faces two choices with regard to the use of force: (1) some semblance of world order, either the Charter or something better if it can gain a degree of legitimacy; or (2) the powerful states do as they wish unless constrained from within, guided by interests of power and profit, as in the past. It makes good sense to struggle for a better world, but not to indulge in pretense and illusion about the one in which we live.

Archival and other sources should provide a good deal more information about the latest Balkans war. Any conclusions reached today are at best partial and tentative. As of now, however, the "lessons learned" do not appear to be particularly attractive.

www.chomsky.info/articles/200005--.htm


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posted by u2r2h at 12:58 AM

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